Monday, May 20, 2019

PLAYING THE BLUES; by Carroll P. Streeter; 1933

To say that a depression can cause more communities to have more fun than they have had since the days of our grandfathers may seem ridiculous. And yet that's just what is happening, according to many reports coming to The Farmer's Wife.

"We began to realize that sitting at home, moping over interest and taxes, and thinking about low prices wouldn't help us any," writes Mrs. Sadie Sybrant of Minnesota, "so we decided to get busy and create some amusement."

"At the next meeting of the P.T.A." Mrs. Sybrant says, "we simply announced that we were going to have a chorus and asked all who felt like joining to come to the schoolhouse next Tuesday night. Twenty men and women turned out, the director brought song books, we used the school organ and--we sang."

Spelling bees, checker and domino tournaments, quilting contests and twenty-four other kinds of fun are making life more interesting in several West Virginia counties this winter.

Take the West Milford community in Harrison County, for example. At spelling bees the grown-ups have their own contests, using old McGuffey texts, and the youngsters have theirs. Groups of three or four families get together in various homes for long winter evenings of dominoes and checkers, with plenty of cookies and apples on hand. Then along toward spring there are community tournaments, county contests and finally an inter-county competition.

The quilts are made the old time way with quilting parties in homes. To be eligible for the contest, a quilt must be made by not less than twelve women, who must meet to work on it together. They bring covered dishes for lunch and stay nearly all day. And we'll leave it to you to guess whether they have a good time.

Monday, May 13, 2019

GARDEN CUTS GROCERY BILL; by Mrs. A. T., Iowa; 1927

What is a home without a garden, especially out on the farm? Yet, when I drive by some farm homes, where there are beautiful locations for a garden, I do not see a sign of one anywhere. Many of these gardenless farm homes have big families to feed and it seems a shame that so little is thought of a garden. Is it any wonder that you can hear on every hand. “Oh! It takes all we can make to provide a living,” or, “We are trying our best to make both ends meet,” or, The grocery bills are something fierce”? I hate to hear any of these expressions, because I know that we on the farms can raise most of our food in our own garden or in the field.

We plant a good many string beans and navy beans, usually by leaving an open space for them here and there in the field, while planting corn. It does not matter how hot and dry the weather is, the beans are shaded by the corn and they always bring a sure crop. This method takes only a little work because you can plow them with the corn plow. We always plant them after the corn is plowed twice. By this plan we have more room for other vegetables in the garden.

We also grow cabbage, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, radishes, lima beans, parsnips, kale, rutabagas and turnips. The latter do well out in the field after the last corn planting. Kale makes nice greens in the early summer and when fall comes, after one or two frosts have killed the bugs, we run it through the food chopper and put it down in dry salt. Tomatoes are made into preserves and green tomato pickles. Carrots, rutabagas and turnips, even beets, are stored in boxes, with first a layer of dirt, then a layer of vegetables, and stored in the cellar. Lima beans are either dried or canned. Some of the string beans are dried, some canned. We always have fresh cabbage up to February or March and from then on we have plenty of canned to last us till our next crop. We do not care much for canned peas, so we always have plenty of dried peas for pea soup.

With all the other things besides vegetables on the farm,--I mean cream, milk, butter, eggs and meat,--I don't see why any farm woman should have large grocery bills. Of course there are some things that we must buy, but not so many that eggs will not pay for them, let alone the cream check. Surely, there is plenty of time on every farm to make gardens if every one of the family lends a hand, even if only an hour after supper, or a few hours after every rain.

So, my dear farm sisters, if you are in earnest to help hubby make both ends meet by making the egg and cream checks stretch farther, instead of just paying unnecessary grocery bills with them, let us resolve right now to cut down the living expenses by making a garden.

Monday, May 6, 2019

THAT HELPLESS SMILE; March 1930; Tennessee

I wonder if every farm woman ought not to have a nice long spell of sickness once in a while. She needs to be reminded that no matter how willing a servant she is for her family, she must take some care of herself and demand some care, or suffer, and cause her dependent ones to suffer.

I was so glad to keep my family happy and contented that till lately I made myself a servant for each one. Baby knew no other hand. Husband not only took my outside help for granted, but failed to see that an exchange of help would be sporting! Not his fault. I was glad to help, and too often said, "Oh, I will. You'd like to do something else."

Each child had a dislike for a certain duty. It was my pleasure to see that the job was done and out of the way. I picked up books and coats and caps, scrubbed hands and faces, put away toys, hunted lost articles, brought kindling for one little son, coal for another, drew water and dug potatoes. I took on myself a hundred duties that would have benefited the family to do, just through love of serving, and of having a smoothly running institution.

Naturally, they let me carry all the load I shouldered. All at once I went down, unable to carry any of it. My husband had to get a neighbor woman to cook supper. He didn't know how to do one thing, though the winter before I had taken care of every member of the family through flu, fed all the stock, and run the house myself.

It's hard to pick up outside help in the south in tobacco stripping time. When we finally got a girl, the baby wouldn't even let her wash his face because "Mother always does." Nobody could find his clean clothes for all were used to having them laid out ready. I saw that I had not only hurt myself waiting on them but I had hurt them by taking their responsibility instead of teaching them to care for themselves.

I was sorry for them, but I turned on a helpless smile. When I got up. I kept it on! There are such a lot things I can't do, and everybody seems to take pleasure that they can now do these things for themselves.

Monday, April 29, 2019

THE WRONG YARDSTICK, by Marian Parker, Colorado, 1936

Words of wisdom from the Great Depression:

I am a bit disgusted with the hue and cry about young folks having to postpone marrying and establishing homes because they cannot maintain a proper standard of living. Far be it from me to advocate a lowering of the standards in our homes when it concerns the things that make for real

happiness, but I believe many have a mistaken idea of what constitutes a high standard of living. They think of it in terms of a fine car; over-stuffed furniture; radios; shows; good clothes.

A few years ago I bought a piece of linoleum for my bathroom and when I laid it, it was too short one way. I had measured my room with one of the best looking yardsticks I ever owned. But I found someone had played a mean trick on me--given me a 39-inch yardstick, while the merchant measured the linoleum with a 36-inch yardstick. I am afraid when some of these young folks check up on their lives they will find they are short two or three or five years of happiness because they measured life by a wrong standard. Someone has slipped them a 39-inch yardstick.

Love, courage, courtesy, patience, a willingness to spend and be spent, a capacity for simple pleasures, will assure them most of the things necessary for a happy home. With industry, economy, and pluck the other things eventually will be added.

Monday, April 22, 2019


I've truly found the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow. Just wait and I'll explain. I've always loved
washing. I enjoy seeing the clothes come from the suds clean and sweet. But no matter how well I like it, by the time I have the last piece on the line I'm just about ready to bite the dog should he happen to get in the way. And then one day it happened--

You see I've reason to get tired. Married just three years and three babies in succession. Although we have only two now that's enough to sap one's strength alone, to say nothing about the work on top of that. I've always done all my work alone; except with this last baby I had help until she was ten weeks old.

I, too, would start a wash-day bright and early with a song on my lips and I suppose I did prance once in a while. Baby, three months old, slept most of the morning and my little helper, just one and one-half years, busied herself with her doll or teddy.

But as the forenoon wore on, Baby'd get restless and Honey would have to come outside with Mother and first thing I'd see her way off in the pasture chasing Smokey, the dog. By the time I'd chase after her and get her back, either Daddy wanted a little help or Baby was crying. Time to get dinner and the clothes waiting to be taken out! Oh boy! The hardest work of all is to hold my temper then! And some times it did get away the least little bit.

I had an exceptionally big washing one day and as I hung the last piece on the line I rested against the post and viewed my work. I didn't say “O, what's the use?” My no! Didn't I say, “I love washing,” I counted those little dresses (mine are both girls), pink and blue and brown and red and white and even yellow. There were almost a dozen.
“How like a rainbow in the sunshine!” I thought. And then I wondered where the colors came from and what makes a rainbow? Turning I saw the answer to my question. Honey, who made that rainbow of little dresses possible was standing at the other end of the line, her golden hair shining. I laughed. I just had to. I had found the gold at the end of my rainbow.

Monday, April 15, 2019

In Spite of the Mortgage; Maryland; 1931

I imagine we are mortgaged about as heavily as the average young couple. Nevertheless, last summer we found a few extra dollars and a few days to take a vacation. My mother has lived on the same farm for over 60 years and never had been more than a hundred miles from her kitchen door; my mother-in-law the same. So we decided to take them and a neighbor with us. Bright and early one September morning, we left for New York City.

None of us shall ever forget that trip. We traveled through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York states, spending the first night in Newark, with friends. Putting the car in a garage, we took an electric car for Jersey City. There we entered the subway and rode under the Hudson River to New York. The wonderful work that has been done by human hands can hardly be realized. While we were in that tunnel with the river over our heads, we experienced a strange sensation. We felt dependent on a Higher Power that has made such marvelous work possible.

We saw the lights of Broadway, Wall Street, Fifth Avenue, the slums, the skyscrapers, Old Trinity Church, the Little Church Around the Corner, the ocean, the harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and Coney Island, the famous playground of America.

To see all this at a price of a cheap theater ticket! We has spent only 65 cents each on arriving back to Newark. It was money well spent. It was time well used.

From: The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt, pages 18-19

Monday, April 8, 2019

Just Minutes; Mrs. S. M. from Oregon; 1931

A few years ago I heard a little story which has had a marked and cheering influence on my life. It had to do with a famous pianist. Someone remarked on how wonderfully he played in thirds, and asked him how he had mastered this difficult feat.

"While I was yet a student, " a great teacher said, "it was necessary for me to earn my way by playing nightly in a dance hall. In the few minutes between the dances, I practiced my thirds. Today I reap the benefit from those minutes of opportunity."

It would have been easy for the pianist to say, "Art cannot thrive in the sordid atmosphere of this dance hall. It must be sacrificed to the lowly end of earning my daily bread." Instead he proved that where there's a will, there's a way.

This little story has been a source of great inspiration to me, because it shows that people who succeed seize on the great possibilities in small opportunities. Since then a moment has been to me something more than a brief lapse of time. Now the minutes are beginning to march by like well-formed lines of soldiers, each in its place, and each with a specific joy or duty.

For the busy housewife odd minutes here and there can contribute to self-improvement and the joy of living. By a careful budgeting of my time, I am finding more and more leisure for the things which I really want in life.

On the window ledge above my sink, there is always a slip of paper with a thought of some sort on it. Sometimes it is a little poem that cheers me, so easy to memorize with my hands in the dishwater, because dishwashing doesn't call for mental effort. Sometimes it's a list of words that I want to make mine--pronunciation and meaning--so that when I meet them again, they'll be old friends.

There are but two of my ways of using "just minutes." My ways would not be the ways of another, perhaps. That doesn't matter. The thing that matters, is to come to a realization that "just minutes," sprinkled through the day, can mean much to us, if we'll only use them.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Try a Little Honey, circa 1930

I have learned what I consider a valuable lesson in discipline and character building. That is, that praise is much more effective in the family than scolding or nagging.

It is especially true of children, but it makes me feel better when I use it with grown-ups too, and I am sure that it pleases them (meaning "him"). A man feels greater responsibility and is more easily discouraged than a woman. So praise is needed most, nagging least.

I find that my young sons respond and try to do even better when I pick out the things they do well and commend for these, saying little or nothing about the others. I praise for specific things, especially those which I have asked them to try to remember, such as little courtesies or acts of thoughtfulness. Also, when they are taking on new, even though small responsibilities, until the habit of doing them has been acquired.
And why not? We never think we are spoiling our friends when we praise them.

It does not mean that the boys won't do anything without having it noticed or praised but it does mean that our children are people and are human, and like a little approval and encouragement. It surely is saving my patience and nerves and helps make a pleasant atmosphere in the home.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Succeed At What You Like Best; M.L. from Georgia; 1931

Six years ago I was a stenographer, making $150 a month and a 10% bonus, in a position that I held for ten years and could have held as long as I cared to. Living was not expensive in this town and I had a delightful five-room apartment. I had pleasant friends to play bridge with and many other amusements. I had access to a wonderful public library and I enjoyed my daily work.

Suddenly, at the age of eighty, my father lost his eyesight and with this blow came confusion of mind. I could not bear to think of him and my invalid mother being in the country without one of their children and they would not consider coming to live with me. Finally I gave up my work and went to them.

I decided that I would call the farm my "home"  indefinitely,--not mark time by planning to do thus and so in the future. I had always loved flowers and set out to see how attractive I could make the farm grounds. Month by month, my savings went for comforts for those I loved and I had no money to spare for plants. I yearned for hollyhocks, hibiscus, columbine, delphinium and every flower that bloomed. To that end I planted seed and rooted cuttings, sometimes with success, again with failure.

At first I gave my surplus plants away and then I chanced to think of selling them and so began my business, which started with ten dollars the first year and now this fourth year has increased to $600. It is practically all profit above the postage, for all my business is done by mail. I do all the work myself. Yet, it is only a side line to housework, cooking, chickens and stock and in times of necessity I go to the field.

My father and mother were both taken last year and my friends took it
for granted that I would leave the farm immediately and take up office work again. But I expect to remain here always and I have a business started which will take care of my comfortably.

I say to everyone, do that which you like best--dressmaking, anything--and your customers will seek you out eventually. Success lies in contentment.

Monday, March 18, 2019


By "For More Fun" from Wisconsin, 1936

I am a farmer's wife with two little tots, and I've decided that, no matter how busy I am, I'm going to take time to enjoy my babies.

This morning we found a little blue jay on the lawn. We put it back and sat for several minutes watching it. Yesterday we went for a twenty minute walk to the woods above the pasture. We picked a few wild flowers, ferns and leaves. Some days I load both babies into the little red wagon and take them with me when I carry Daddy's lunch into the field or when I go after the mail. How they do enjoy it, especially if we have to wait. Sometimes it is only a tour of the farmyard where we call on each of the farm animals and visit awhile.

At bedtime, I take them upstairs and tuck them into their beds and talk a little while with them before the sandman comes too close. A few love pats or a few little rubs on tired backs do much to quiet unstrung nerves and bring restful sleep.

They are just "little whiles" in the midst of busy hours, of busy days, of busy years. But long after other things are forgotten they'll look back and remember those "little whiles" with mother.

Love them while we can...

By "Trusting" from Virginia, 1932

When the kiddies are taking their afternoon nap, no matter how many things are waiting to be done, slip out and fasten the door behind you. Be sure you take your worries and discouragements with you. Walk briskly--are there hills in Nebraska? If you haven't a hill that you can climb and stand on top of, find a lone tree. A tree that is large and powerful, one that knows the fierceness of bitter winter winds. Stand under its branches. It will whisper to you, listen well, and while you are listening, your worries and discouragements will slip away. Go back to your house and your little ones, and if you have caught that gleam, you will feel it, a little burning joy that will grow and grow with the years. It is a great possession!

Monday, March 11, 2019

SUNLIGHT IN HER LANE by "Fourteen-year-old" from New York

My mother is forever
Darning holes in endless socks;
But she loves the scent of clover,
And the drifting four-o'-clocks.

Forever patching garments worn and small,
Scouring kettles, baking loaves; 
But the garden pinks against the wall
Give a fragrance keen as cloves.

She washes little dirty faces,
And she kisses bruises, healing pain;
While the shadows blow like fine gray laces
'Gainst the sunlight in her lane.

Each day brings its drab, tired hours,
There are homely tasks to do;
But she had a garden,--flowers,
And a window to look through. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

SHOULD SHE GO?, 1936, Part 2

From "Unsentimental Mother," from New York

My husband I started out by ourselves but mother and dad wanted us to share their home with them. (My husband is one of the finest men on earth and my people think the world of him.) When we had been by ourselves about two years, my father's health failed and they wanted us to come so badly that
we finally went to live with them. But we weren't happy. We tried to be, just to please them. It didn't work. There were many little reasons, but the big one was that it did not give us a chance to show the world what we could do ourselves.

After dad regained his health, we moved out by ourselves again. And because they were big enough to understand it all and let us go, they held our love and understanding as they never could have by keeping us.

They have every comfort and convenience at home to offer us, and we rent a house that isn't as nice as their summer cottage. We have to work very hard and we do without things we both were used to before we married. It may sound as though we are stubborn and foolish, but we aren't really, for here we have found ourselves. Here we are happy. Here we are more than just a part of a fine family. We are a fine family for now we have five beautiful children and are proving to ourselves that we are capable of doing a big job and doing it well.

Please give your "children" the chance Dad and Mother gave us. Let them go with the knowledge that they are always welcome if they decide to come back as they may sometime.

But until they decide, wouldn't you rather they would be away with a deep, tender feeling for your home than to be there always wishing they were away?

And finally from "One Who Regrets" in Michigan

To Mother, of Iowa. I persuaded my son and his young wife to make their home with us. In five years they were parted and laid the blame at our door.

Please let your daughter go to a different home no matter how lonesome you may be. It is the only way that is right.

Note from Laurie: I find it interesting that the magazine never printed any letters from young women who thought that it was a good idea to live with their parents after marriage. My guess is there were not any letters sent in to print!

Monday, February 25, 2019

SHOULD SHE GO?, 1936, Part 1

By "The Mother" from Iowa

My daughter was married the other day--my only child, I'm very happy for them both for her husband
is a fine boy--cheerful, honest, faithful. And my daughter--well--she is my daughter and I look at her with pride.

But she wants to leave me!

All our lives since the first day she opened her brown eyes at me, my husband and I have built around her our hopes and our plans. We have given her what we could and always, when we could not give, we explained and she understood. She has helped us, too, and has been a great comfort. Now she strains away from us to a sparsely furnished, rented bungalow and our house already seems to echo with loneliness.

It is not as if they needed to go. Our home is convenient to her husband's work. Our house is spacious and furnished comfortably. Upon them her taste and mine were lovingly expended--a piano, a library, big beds; windows that look through old trees.

I cannot decide whether she really wants to go or whether it is a point of honor with them. We would like them to live with us, as our children. But realizing they would like to be alone, we have offered half the house to them. We want them to stay. It will all be theirs some day and why should they skimp and save to pay for furniture and rent when they could have it all here and welcome?

You mothers of married girls understand this feeling. Some of you, too, have persuaded your daughters to stay at home--and have not regretted it. Or have you?

In Response--"Another Mother" from Ohio

The letter of "The Mother, Iowa" appealed to me, for my husband and I had the experience of living with his mother for nearly two years. From our experience has sprung the hope that our children may enter homes of their own, however humble, as soon as they are married.

I had the care of the home. If I wanted to paint, varnish, or buy a new piece of furniture, "Mother" would feel that her things weren't good enough for me. If mother bought part of the groceries she was doing more than her share; if we bought all of them, we didn't want her to do anything.

No, however much you and dad may miss daughter let her have her own home, choose its furnishings, do her own planning. She and her new husband will be much happier if they work out their own salvation.

Another thing, the young man will be happier and get more satisfaction out of a home he has provided for his bride than he will to live with her people and feel that they are supplying the necessities as well as the luxuries of life that are really his right to provide.

Monday, February 18, 2019


From "Mrs. Fifty" in New York:

I would like to add to the letter written by the newly married "Mrs. Nineteen."

I am writing from the point of view of experience. I've made a discovery. I've found a way to roll back the years and get a fresh point of view about married life. Most of us have been through a double
depression in the last five or six years--economic and spiritual. This has taken a toll from our nerves and our dispositions and often we have been unsympathetic and irritable,--to the children, to the help, to the tradesmen,--but most of all to our husbands.

One day I realized this and suddenly said to myself, "Remember the eager days! This older man, a bit bent, is the slender lad you met at the gate more than thirty years ago. This is the young beau who made you the envy of all the girls in town when he took you to a dance. This is the ardent suitor who brought the color to your cheeks when he said good-night in the porch shadows. Remember the eager days and then remember that you and he are going down the hill together."

Roll back the years sometimes as I do. Then have his favorite dish for supper and touch his shoulder gently as you pass him. He will understand.

From "Sympathizer" in Indiana:

If I were a wife, when my husband came in from his work dead tired, I'd try and have everything in readiness for him to enjoy a nice quiet evening and not have a lot of things saved up for him to do. So many women have work planned for their husbands that it takes up the biggest part of the day and evening, too. It is no more than right that he spend some evenings and some holidays in the way that pleases him best. Moreover, I'd try to plan my work so I could enjoy some of that leisure time with him.

Monday, February 11, 2019

THE HARDEST WORK IN THE WORLD, by Inactive, from Washington, 1936

I suspect that my life is quite different from yours.

While your problem is one of getting your work done, mine is one of absolute inactivity. I am not allowed to talk, to raise myself on my elbow, to reach for an object. I lie flat, flatter, flattest! One hour a day I can read or write but not intensely. All days are alike to a split second.

A "movie" is given every second Friday night and those patients who are able are taken on their beds to the movie.

I hear a chorus of tired voices saying, "I'd like that." You might for a few weeks but after a year or two it is a questionable privilege.

I am as passive as a parcel! I, who have been an actively practicing physician, going night and day for 25 years. If it weren't so funny it would be tragic. Until this "one hour" privilege my only activity was "turning the other cheek."

To do nothing is the hardest work in the world.

 A year ago I thought I could never laugh again but now I can shake the bed with my own fun. The ability to adjust oneself is a valuable attribute. I've had to learn to be a good friend to myself. Pleasant thoughts are the pleasantest things of life. It should be the art of living to collect as many as possible.

I shall doubtless be here the better part of a year yet--but I am sure I shall in time be well and back in my profession. I wish anyone of you would write to me. I can only wish you Health and Wealth and Luck and Love and Joy.

Follow-up from "Standing in the Need," from Virginia

That letter from "Inactive, from Washington," I read it once and again--and then I prayed that God might give to me and to all the other "me's" of the world such strength and courage.

We complain because our work is hard, our kitchens hot, our gardens slow to grow, and we fret over thousands of other trivial things. But suppose calamity should befall us as it has "Inactive." Would we have the courage, the faith and the blessed sense of humor to go on?

God bless "Inactive" and give us all such courage as that.

Monday, February 4, 2019


We had finished our evening meal, when I noticed in the center of the large platter which had held our fried chicken, the only remaining piece--the ribs with the neck jauntily raised in the fore, floating serenely over the China Sea. I said, "That looks like a gondola."

My family is always on the alert for new words and Kent, the nine-year-old asked, "What is a gondola?" Then followed a general explanation, everyone offering any information he might about the "streets of water" in Venice, a city where no train, auto, horse or street car is to be seen.

That started it. We decided it would be fun for each one of us to take mental note of any new word or expression he heard during the day. At dinner that evening each would announce his "word," giving the others opportunity to say whether or not he knew its meaning. Any one familiar with the word must give the others a chance to guess or in some way try to find out the meaning. The idea was to have as much discussion as possible, impressing the new word upon the child to whom it was unfamiliar.

The seven members of our family, ranging from Dad to the kindergartner, brought an interesting and varied list of words to our attention. Here are a few: alibi, excruciating, bung, recapitulate, soil conservation. The latter furnished Dad and the high school boys a topic for a lively and timely discussion.

The high point of the game was reached one evening when Keith, the smallest one, proudly and unaided announced "comic strip." He had heard the "paper boy" say it and it was new to him for he always had thought it was "the funnies."

Saturday, February 2, 2019


Hello to all the readers of A Housewife Writes blog!

Life takes some funny directions. This winter I've found myself working on an ebook about my experiences as an Amish school teacher. I've come to realize that multi-tasking isn't working well for me and I need to focus on one writing project at a time. So I'll be taking a break from posting on this blog until I get the book wrapped up. I'm hoping I won't be gone too long!
If you would like peeks into the book...

To continue this post from Amalia, please go to:

Monday, January 28, 2019


I love the simple ways that these two girls made money. I wish that these opportunities were as easy to come by today as they were in 1927.

From Arta Lind in Idaho--
I made my first dollar by selling parsnips to town customers. My father had planted more parsnips in the family garden than we could use, and the surplus was only going to waste. So I asked him if I might have the ones we didn't use. He said I might, but he didn't think I could do anything with them.

It surprised the family when I dug four bushels and sold them all the first week. I put a sign in our front lawn, and as our farm is on a state highway several people stopped every day. The first day I made $1.25, and with that and more money earned the same way I bought flower seeds and started a flower garden. All the next summer I sold cut flowers and with the help of my father I bought a violin. I had just turned twelve that fall when school started, and so with my violin I took up music in the school. Before the next spring I was playing in the Junior High Orchestra.

All this was gained by some parsnips that were only going to waste.

From Nelle Jones in Florida--
Girls! Why don't some of you join me in my new business undertaking? I have just opened a Milk Bar in our front yard where passing wayfarers may get a glass of real milk to quench their thirst.

Necessity was the mother of invention. Motoring from Florida last March I found it was almost impossible to procure a glass of milk outside of a restaurant. Ginger ale and pop were to be had at every crossroad, but call after call at farmhouse doors was met with a negative shake of the head. The milk was shipped to the cities in bulk, only enough retained for family use.

This thirsty experience thrust an opportunity right into my head. Upon my return home, up came an old table from the cellar, out came the paint brush and my milk bar is a delight in delft blue and white with a three-legged milking stool to match. The only other equipment consists of a five gallon jar, a dozen stone mugs and a ladle. There are no bottled goods at my bar, but I do serve a free lunch. A homemade cooky crowns every mug of milk at ten cents a pint. Nothing else is needed but a bouquet of flowers. Wear a gingham dress of blue, a white bib apron and a flat brimmed sunbonnet to match.

The traveling public is thirsty and we girls on the farm can so easily furnish the beverage that is food as well as drink.

Let's not live in the same old rut this summer, reaching up hands to dad for money every time we go to town. Let's earn our own with our milk bar.

Monday, January 21, 2019

WISE AND TRUE ADVICE, by Margaret, 1920

Wonderful insights from 99 years ago. 

A man whose wisdom and kindliness had won for him a host of loyal friends once said to me, The only way to keep a friend is not to care whether you lose him."
This seemed to me at first to be a very indifferent sort of remark for a man to make whose friends loved him, but the more I thought about it, the more I judged him wise and true.

For it is the clinging, selfish thought, the fearful heart, which cannot hold a friend or a lover. That sturdy soul who recognizes that the source of each man's happiness lies in his own heart, and not in the devotion of others, is the best friend in the world. As for him, you may come or go, his respect and kindness are a constant feature. He does not demand of you certain things and then resent non-fulfillment. He does not plan for you the way that you should walk and then reproach you for not walking in it. If you do fall, he says, "You can buck it again, old friend, and you can't hurt me, because I depend on no man." If you desert or neglect him, his open heart, and freedom from accusation, leaves the door open for you to come back to him again, and you soon find that he is still your friend.
In love as in friendship, the heart that can learn to let another heart go free, to give much, and ask little, is the heart that prospers. That man or girl who wears love out with constant demands, or who clings so closely and so demandingly on the beloved, loses love, lover and all, and deserves to lose, because the basis of human relationships must not be selfishness.

So many young people write to me, "My sweetheart is growing indifferent. How can I regain his (or her) affection?"

The answer is, that you can't by trying. If indifference comes, let it come, and let the lover go, for the more you struggle to hold him, the more will he want to be free. But the best test is to open wide the door and without fear, and without resentment, make it easy and simple for him to get away, still retaining a pleasant relationship. That is the real test. If he goes, his desire to be free is sincere, and should be granted. If he does not want to go, but is only impatient, his opportunity will make him realize that you are important, and dear, after all.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Grandmother's Party, 1916

Everyone in the house had had a party except Grandmother. Mother had entertained twenty friends at cards and Janet had had a dancing party. Bob had a fine time giving some of his chums a sleigh ride following with a dinner at the club and Father had just bowed his last guest out from a dinner.

"Now it's Grandmother's turn," said loyal Bob. "She ought to have a party. And have a party she did.

Never was more pleasure given to twelve elderly ladies than was theirs on that lovely September afternoon. The whole family entered into the spirit of the affair. Bob insisted that his part was to get the flowers and vines to decorate the house and Janet could arrange them. "I'm not going to have any of your ordinary garden stuff," he announced,"anyone can have that. Grandmother's party is to be the best ever."

To continue this post, please go to:

Monday, January 14, 2019

Applesauce Cake, 1936

A few months ago a friend Aaryne sent me a little booklet she ran across somewhere in her travels. It made her think of me, she said, which shows she knows me pretty well. It’s called Successful Baking for Flavor and Texture.  The name alone is a giveaway that it wasn’t written recently. It was published in 1936 by the company that made Arm & Hammer baking soda.
I’ve marked out several recipes to try and today I decided to make the Applesauce Cake. I’m still working my way through bushels of apples so I’m always looking for ways to use my apple abundance.

To continue this post, please go to:

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Victories of the Flowers, by C.S. Harrison, 1906

“How precious are thy thoughts to me, Oh God."

The unfolding of the blossom is a revelation of the precious thoughts of God. I am overwhelmed at times with the thought that God has been forgotten in our homes and in our land. In the early days, Minnesota was a glorious garden of flowers and all the air was laden with the breath of their smiles. Man turned His flower gardens into wheat fields, but it is too bad they did not remember what He can do for them. Flowers are His songs unsung, silent poems, eloquent with His praise.

How many battles have been lost in our great cities when there were only dingy walls instead of God’s green fields.

To continue this post, please go to:

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Sewing in School by Teacher Mary L. Murphy; 1913

Practical education seems to be the cry of the people, especially in rural schools where only a small per cent of the children ever go beyond the eighth grade and of those who go through high school still fewer go beyond.

With that thought in mind I aim to teach sewing two Friday afternoons a month. I plan the sewing and do the cutting and either do the basting or show the children how to do it.

The girls very readily took up with the sewing plan, but at first the boys thought it would be very queer for them. If it is possible, the boys work at carpentry.

We talked of things that boys and girls could easily make and each child selected his article, the material for which the parents gladly furnished.

The various articles which have been made so far this term are:

Pincushions, two boys, four girls.
Sofa pillow in cross stitch, one boy.
Sofa pillow, crash, fringe edge with initials, one boy; two girls.
Fancy-work aprons: three girls
Handkerchiefs: two girls.
Dresser scarfs: three girls.
Towels, hemming and monogram; two boys; two girls.
Kitchen aprons, cross stitch; two boys.

There are fourteen pupils in my school and everyone, even the smallest, has finished at least one piece and all take an interest in the work.

When there is any machine sewing to be done, as with the kitchen aprons, the mother is asked to do that at home. We use two rows of cross stitch to hold the hem down and have some simple design worked above that on aprons.

The children can easily be told where and how to begin work. Children will to do ripping in many cases but will be more careful the next time and they usually do it cheerfully when they see the difference in the right and wrong way.

I use my own original designs when anything is to be monogrammed or embroidered.

The parents are very much in favor of this work. They say, for the girls especially, that they are taking an interest in sewing which they never before showed. Those that hated it, are now liking it. There is no lack of interest on the boys' part, for they have asked to be allowed to take sewing home to work on, the boys can make useful things.

Sewing for the wee folks requires more planning and I sometimes have them work at other things as color work, paper cutting, etc.

Some of the work begun at school is finished at home but even if it is not done exactly right it stimulates the child to greater effort and in time he will learn the difference between good and poor work.

It is best to plan things as simple as possible, for children from 6 to 12 years old are not very persevering and well enough instructed in the art of needle craft to do difficult work.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

True Happiness, 1933

Everybody is trying to get there first. It is just hurry-scurry from one thing to another. Everybody seems to be wanting something she doesn’t have, and is in a hurry to get it before someone else does. After we do get a thing, we never have time to enjoy it, but just start thinking about something else we want.

This sounds like a good description of 2019, doesn’t it? But this was originally written in 1933, during the Great Depression. In an era characterized by widespread poverty, I expected people would have been more appreciative of their meager possessions in light of others in a worse position....

To continue this post, please go to:

Saturday, January 5, 2019

A Simple Plan, 1930

Well, here we go again. The start of a new year.

I’ve been thinking about this year and what I can change to make it go more smoothly. To say there’s room for improvement is obvious. Of course the best plans never go the way you expect them to, but a modified plan has to be an improvement over winging it all the time, right?

More than anything else this year, I need to focus on….focusing. It’s kind of appropriate...

To continue this post, please go to:

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

I would like to introduce you to a new blog named “Cuts With Scissors.”
It is written by a lovely woman who was “born in the 50’s and raised by
depression-era parents.” She writes eloquently about her travels
through life and shares her progress in sewing the blocks from
The Bible Sampler Quilt. I encourage you all to join her